Research Program


My research program focuses on the integrative and comparative biology of animals.  I use a range of techniques to study the evolution, genetics, ecology and physiology of animals.  Currently, my interests are in two areas of research: (1) the integrative and comparative biology of bees and (2) the study of island dwarfism in anurans.

Research projects that study bees are often with one or more of my collaborators in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in Turkey.  Several lines of research are supported by these collaborations: (1) comparative biology of invasive bees, (2) the effects of sublethal exposure to pesticides by bees, (3) ecology of invasive plants and pollinators, and (4) genetic basis of foraging behavior in bees.

Integrative and Comparative Biology of Bees

My research into island dwarfism of anurans traces its roots to my own thesis research on toads of Assateague Island, Virginia.  This research involves collaboration with Dr. Thomas S. Klinger  (BU) and colleagues from Millersville University.  Studies are conducted on one or more of the barrier islands near the Chincoteague Bay Field Station at Wallops Island Virginia.  Ongoing studies are revealing the (1) life history traits of island anurans, (2) the distribution of breeding habitats, (3) how patterns of coastal flooding will impact habitats used by anurans, (4) premating isolation, and (5) ecological interactions among island anurans.

Investigating Island Dwarfism in Anurans

Students are essential to my research program.  I have worked with many students over the years.  See “Where are they now?” for stories about some of these students.  Students may engage in several ways: (1) research volunteers for no credit and no pay, (2) research for credit courses, and (3) as paid research assistants.  I work with undergraduate and graduate students.   In either case, I prefer to involve students early in their academic career, as freshmen/sophomores (undergraduates) or as first semester graduate students, because research for more than one or two semesters makes for a meaningful experience.

How students are involved in my research

Abramson, C.I, Çakmak, I., Duell, M.E., Bates-Albers, L., Zuniga, E., Pendegraft, L., Barnett, A., Cowo, C.,

    Warren, J., Albritton-Ford, A., Barthell, J.F., Hranitz, J.M., and Wells, H.  2013.  Feature-positive and Feature-

    negative Learning in Honey Bees.  Journal of Experimental Biology. 216: 224-229.

Oruç, H.H., Hranitz, J.M., Sorucu, A., Duell, M.E., Çakmak, I., Aydin, L., and Orman, A.  2012. Determination of

    Acute Oral Toxicity of Flumethrin in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera anatoliaca).  Journal of Economic Entomology.  105:            


Hranitz J.M., Abramson C.I., Carter R.P. 2010. Ethanol increases HSP70 concentrations in honeybee (Apis mellifera

    L.) brain tissue. Alcohol 44(3): 275-282.

Barthell, J.F., M.L. Clement, D.S. Song, A.N. Savitski, J.M. Hranitz, H. Wells, T. Petanidou, R.W. Thorp, A.M.

    Wenner, and T.L. Griswold.  2009.  Nectar secretion and bee guild characteristics of yellow star-thistle on Santa Cruz

    Island and Lesvos: Where have the honey bees gone? Uludäg Bee Journal. 9: 109-121.

Hranitz, J.M., J.F. Barthell, C.I. Abramson, K.D. Brubaker, and H. Wells.  2009. Stress protein responses in honey

    bees: is it useful to measure stress responses of individual bees in the hive?  Uludäg Bee Journal. 9: 60-71.

Hranitz, J.M., J.F. Barthell, R.W. Thorp, L.M. Overall, J.L. Griffiths.  2009.  Nest site selection influences mortality

    and heat stress responses in developmental stages of an invasive leafcutting bee, Megachile apicalis

    (Spinola).  Environmental Entomology 38:484-492.

Baird, T.A., J.M. Hranitz, D.K. Timanus, and A.M. Schwartz. 2007.  Behavioral attributes influence annual mating    

    success more than morphological traits in male collared lizards.  Behavioral Ecology 18: 1146-1154.

Hranitz, J.M. and T.A. Baird.  2000.  Effective population size and genetic structure of a population of collared lizards,

    Crotaphytus collaris, in central Oklahoma.  Copeia 2000: 786-791.

Hranitz, J.M. and W.J. Diehl.  2000.  Enzyme variation and population structure during the life history of the toad Bufo    

    woodhousii fowleri. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 28: 15-27.

Hranitz, J.M., T.S. Klinger, F.C. Hill, R.G. Sagar, T. Mencken and J. Carr.  1993.  Morphometric variation between Bufo    

    woodhousii fowleri Hinckley (Anura: Bufonidae) on Assateague Island and the adjacent mainland.  Brimleyana 19:


Selected Publications (undergraduate authors in bold font)